Agricultural learning center 3-20-20

Shown is a rendering of the Northwest Missouri State University’s Agricultural Learning Center at R.T. Wright Farm in Maryville. The Board of Regents gave the go-ahead for construction of the facility on Thursday.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Northwest Missouri State University’s long-awaited Agricultural Learning Center at the R.T. Wright Farm will soon be a reality after the university’s Board of Regents on Thursday gave the go-ahead to award a contract for its construction.

The board OK’d an agreement with E.L. Crawford Construction for about $8.2 million to build the facility.

“I think this is a landmark for the university,” said Rod Barr, director of the School of Agricultural Sciences. “I remember (Northwest President John Jasinski) talking about it being a lynchpin. Well, we just put a stake in the ground. I’m very excited.”

The project calls for a new single-story 29,500-square-foot, pre-engineered metal building that will house classroom, laboratory, kitchen, exposition and offices spaces.

In a news release, the university said it expects the the facility to help continue the growth of the School of Agricultural Sciences, which amounts to 650 majors and includes about 12 percent of all students at Northwest. The university is also home to the largest agricultural business program in the state.

The total project cost to build and equip the ALC is estimated by the university at about $9.8 million; turn lane improvements required by the Missouri Department of Transportation, MoExcels Lab Equipment and estimated financing costs will increase that to about $11 million. Additional costs will be funded through multiple sources, including donors, the university and state funds.

The Northwest Foundation has raised more than $5 million toward through public and private donations.

Northwest is targeting spring 2021 for the ALC’s grand opening.

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